French Phenomenon

A posthumously published novel, written by Irene Nemirovsky, an emigre Russian Jew in France during World War II, is quickly turning into a phenomenon. Titled Suite Francaise it is an epic told in five volumes. The first book is an account of the exodus of 1940, when the Jews fled the Germans; the second is a study of a small village under the occupation, including the treacheries of collaboration. Other volumes are yet to be published. Nemirovsky wrote i>Suite Francaise while in hiding in a small village in the 1940s with her family. She was deported and died ten days after arriving in Auschwitz, but when her daughter fled their home she took the manuscript with her. It was only recently that she finally decided to transcribe it. The results are said to be extraordinary.

“One of the great 20th century authors … A gigantic literary and historical gift,” said the daily La Croix. “A work of exceptional force … remarkable because written not after, but during, the war,” said L’Express. “A suberb work … A capital discovery,” said the Le Point weekly. “A chef-d’oeuvre … ripped from oblivion,” said Le Monde.

Foreign rights to the book have been sold in some 18 countries, including the United States, so we’ll soon have a chance to read it here.